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I have the Auralic Altair G1 and think it sounds absolutely excellent playing my music files from hard drive as well as streaming Qobuz.
So I am assuming Tidal would sound similar.
The Lightning app that you control it with (has to be iOS) is great. Or you can control directly through the web app if you don't have iOS phone/iPad.
I use the XLR outs from the unit direct into my Krell Foundation 4k and they compliment each other very well.
As far as your questions about MQA, etc - sorry. I don't have any experience with that.
What kind of sonic signature are you wanting?
The Auralic and SimAudio tend toward cooler sound. The Aurender, Lumin, and Mytek tend toward the warmer end. I’ve not heard the Esoteric.
Of those, my choice would be the Lumin T2. Plays well with Roon, unlike Aurender, and handles Tidal MQA great. It’s own app is good. It is very detailed yet natural. The support and updates are excellent.
The Aurender is nice but IMHO too high priced vs its competition. Mytek is nice and Roon friendly too.
I’ve never warmed (pun intended) to the house sound of Auralic or Sim - too clinical and cool for my ears.
I have owned and tried all of the below:
Auralic Altair G1
Mytek Brooklyn Bridge
In my system and to my ears the Bricasti M5 was the best of the above bunch. Cleaner sounding, bigger soundstage, better sounding bass.
I'm a subscriber to Tidal Masters ($11.99 a month for US Veterans).
The Bricasti M5 was connected to a DCS Debussy DAC and now my current Bricasti M3 DAC/Ethernet streamer.
I had a serious week of listening and playing with the auralic Altair G1. After listening to it for the first day, I kept going between CD/SACD on my 15 year old CDSD transport/DCC2 dac/pre and realized I much preferred listening to my older equipment. I found the Altair too forward and the soundstage compressed. Highs were a bit shrill and although it had more details/resolution, it was much less engaging, less immersive and not as easy to listen as the DCC2. I found it fatiguing after many hours. Then, when my dealer came to pick it up after the week, he brought the AURALiC ARIES G2.1 (streamer only) which we plugged into my DCC2 with AES output. Suddenly, I realized the potential of streaming and how important the network bridge is, as the music became more open, engaging and sounded much closer to playing CDs in my system. The only problem was the DCC2 has to be manually set to 44.1 vs 48kHz, which was a pain as my playlist had a mix of FLAC/MQA and I couldn't send DSF files through the AES input. But it showed me that to replace what I am used to may take a bigger investment on a single (all in one streamer/DAC) or two boxes (streamer + DAC). The hunt continues, but challenging in the time of COVID when I can't leave my "Atlantic bubble" without quarantine upon return for 14 days.